3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8-miles, Dirt, Purse: $1,000,000
Florida Derby Picks
- 1. Gunnevera
- 2. Always Dreaming
- 3. Three Rules
- 4. Impressive Edge
Florida Derby Analysis
Despite his disadvantageous wide post Gunnevera is still the obvious horse to beat in the 66th running of the Florida Derby on Saturday. You cant bet against him with any confidence so we’ll be hoping the wide post ups the odds just enough to make a win bet on him at 6/5.
In his last start Gunnevera swooped the field on the turn and rolled home to win the Fountain of Youth-G2 at Gulfstream Park going 1 1/16-miles. The extra furlong of the Florida Derby should present no problem for the son of 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In, who also happens to be out of an Unbridled mare. Unbridled won this race in 1990.
Gunnevera’s numbers are improving, he has top jock Javier Castellano in the irons, and he rarely runs a bad race. In his first start this year he finished a good second to Irish War Cry after steadying on the turn for home, and he improved as expected to win the Fountain of Youth in his next start. The pick by many at this stage to win the Kentucky Derby, he’s definitely the horse to beat. If you can get anything above even-money, he’s the win play.
There should be enough pace pressure to set the race up for Gunnevera’s late run, and unless the track is really favoring speed it will be tough for any horse to wire the field. The main speed horses are State of Honor, Always Dreaming and Three Rules. The latter showed some fight in his last and could take some starch out of the other speed horses on the turn for home despite looking like he doesn’t want to go the distance of the Florida Derby.
Always Dreaming, another from the Todd Pletcher Kentucky Derby assembly line, set a brutally slow pace in his last before romping away to win an N1X allowance race at the Florida Derby distance by four lengths at 1-9. He’ll get the distance, and he did have something left in his last, but it’s difficult to tell how much. Rider John Velazquez will help his chances on the class raise, but the pace should also be quicker here.
State of Honor finished second in the Tampa Bay Derby-G2 in his last after leading to the top of the stretch, but he looks like a one dimensional speed horse that basically runs off every race and has nothing left for the drive. He gets blinkers off for this race but should still be hooked up with Three Rules and Always Dreaming on the final turn just as Gunnevera is starting to get geared up for his run.
If the three speed horses cook themselves on the turn they could pave the way for a few longshots in the Florida Derby Superfecta. Despite the fact that most of the others look too slow, a perfect trip might help at least one of them to sneak into second or third at huge odds.
Based on that analysis we’ll take Gunnevera on top in our superfectas and trifectas, with All in second and third with Always Dreaming, State of Honor and Three Rules. We’ll also take Gunnevera on top with all in second and fourth with the three speed horses in third. If we can get a 50-1 shot home in second we should be able to make a decent profit.
And at 6/5 or better, we’ll bet Gunnevera to win.